Memoirs of a Childhood Bookworm: Alfie gets home first by Shirley Hughes.

Sometimes in book tags I see prompts along lives of books that changed your life and I can never really think of anything. However I have, remembered a book that influenced me to do something ….

The book is Alfie gets in first. In the book he gets in first and manages to lock his Mum and baby sister Annie Rose out. This inspired me when my Mum was outside hanging washing out with my baby sister to lock the back door. I then could not turn the key the other way. I managed to get the key out of the lock. Then my Mum had to climb in a patio table for me to pass the keys through the window!

International Women’s Day Sheffield Walk

On the eve of International Women’s Day; I met a group at Ladies Bridge. Ladies Bridge took it’s name from the chapel built close to the bridge dedicated to the Virgin Mary also referred to as our lady.

Via Queens street. We then walked to the Diamond building of Sheffield University and viewed the sculpture of a moth that honours Amy Johnstone. Amy was a pilot and the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia hence the sculpture. There was a trial of moth sculptures in 2018 that spanned her home town Hull, Sheffield and Australia. Her connection with Sheffield is she studied at Sheffield University. We then proceeded to pass the Amy Johnstone building of Sheffield University.

We when then walked to the cathedral. Florence Nightingale used to go to services at the cathedral. Florence’s family originated from Sheffield. Florence was named after the Italian city where she was born. Her Father was born William Shore, he adopted his Uncle’s surname Nightingale before Florence was born. After returning from Italy, Florence lived in Matlock but frequently visited her Grandparents in Sheffield and the cathedral hence stopping at the cathedral. There are streets named in her honour but they are further from the city centre. There is Florence Road in Woodseats and Nightingale Street in Grenoside. Nearer to the city, close to Bramall lane there is also a Shore Street reflecting her Father’s family.

Whilst at the cathedral we looked across at Cutlers Hall. In 1908 Adela Pankhurst sneaked into the Cutlers Feast intending to disrupt speeches but she was thrown out before that happened and instead made a speech on the steps of the Town Hall.

We proceeded to the Town Hall. We looked at plaques of famous Sheffielder’s.

Our walk ended in Barker’s Pool where there is a post box painted gold to honour Jessica Ennis Hill and also a bronze statue of Buffer girls who were women who took up the roles of men in steel factories when the men were away at war.

Top 5 Tuesday 5 book covers with doorways

As Meghan who set the challenge quoted


Books and doors are the same thing. You open them, and you go through into another world.”

Jeanette Winterson

1. To start with I have picked possibly the most famous door in the UK. I can not think of a more widely known / pictured one? It is number 10 Downing Street. I have it on the cover of a book called the Goldfish Bowl by the former prime minister’s wife; Cherie Booth as well as Cate Haste. They interviewed other spouses and children of former prime minister’s to give a glimpse into personal life in Downing Street.

2. From one famous doorway to another… what other famous doors can you think of? I think Monica’s door in Friends with the frame is fairly iconic! Technically my Friends book Still Friends by Saul Austerlitz only has the grave on it not the door.

3. From one purple door to another… There is a purple door on my cover of Rachel’s holiday. Which I bought and read last year in order to try a Marian Keyes. Not subsequently read more but for light reading would consider one again.

4. This is a lift doorway. An open lift doorway showing blood inside the lift. The lift is the Escape Room of the book’s title. A book by Megan Goldin. Not the typical Escape Room that do as a voluntary fun activity! Hence the blood!

5. The only book on this list that I have not yet read. A Penny Vincenzi; A question of time. Another author good for light reading!

Book Cllub Challenge Complete

Book with a Country in the Title

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. A book told through documents on the surface dull however once you get into it there are some interesting character dynamics. Salmon Fishing Review

Short Stories

Night Shift by Stephen King. The only story I really liked was Strawberry Spring.

Experience of Stephen King

Childhood book category read many Roald Dahl books as a child. I don’t think I had previously The Giraffe, Pelly and Me, therefore took the opportunity to read that. As it only took 10minutes to read I also re-read Esio Trot. Both books were charming.

Experince of Roald Dahl

Book Bought Second Hand.

Bought The Book Thief from Greener Books via Amazon. This book showed the heart breaking existence of a girl in Nazi occupied Germany, suffering loss after loss in amongst happiness of loving those around. It explores how important books are to her.

A book with an Island Connection

Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior. About an elderly millionaire making a trip to Locket island to find out about penguin conservation. She is initially seems an uptight woman but it is good to see different aspects of her personality emerge as the book continues and past tragedies revealed. 

A Christmas book

I read two. First One Day in December by Josie Silver. It is not set all at Christmas. It is a bit like my favourite book One Day in that follows a ‘will they won’t they couple’ over several years. It has some bitter sweet moments. Defiantly, not a fluffy Christmas romance and very little of it is actually Christmas as it does not check i. On them on the same day every year.

Christmas at the North Pole by Jamie Adnams. It was quite a whimsical book; I guess I managed to enjoy some charming snowy holiday vibes but overall a bit fluffy.

A book Set in Asia

I had a Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hossin on my list since reading Kite Runner last year. Both books are set in Afghanistan this one gave a insight into the lives of women ; it is mind boggling the difference in my life growing up in the UK at the same time as women in Afghanistan.

A book with X in title or author’s name

I doubled up on this category because I had one with x in authors name and one with x in title in TBR piles. First I read a Stuart Life Lived Backwards by Alexander Master. A biography of an unusual subject; a man who swings between prison, life of crime and homelessness. Shocking ending. 

I read the Texas Ranger by James Pattison. An American cop type thing, guess can see why James Pattison is popular for holiday reads and would maybe read one again.

A book with a building in the title

As I received as a Christmas Eve box surprise, Christmas with the Tea Shop Girls by Elaine Everest, I decided that tea shop counted as a building.

The prologue was Christmas Eve then first chapter started 2nd Sep and worked forward to the aforementioned Christmas Eve; therefore it was not all Christmassy. It was a family saga set in wartime England; I do enjoy such books as it was a time of such change in the position of women. Indeed I enjoyed this one.

A book with a Royal Connection

I took part in a Christmas Secret Santa book exchange and was very lucky to received a few books (a book mark and chocolate). One of the books I received The Burning Girls. I decided I could use for the book with Royal Connection because the author’s name was Tudor like in Tudor monarchs.

Upon opening the book I found it was even more appropriate as it was centred around martyrs in time of Queen Mary. it was not a historic book however; it was set fairly recently with a female vicar regularly using airdrop feature on her phone and needing wi -fi. It had plenty of actions – twists and turns.

A book with weather referenced in the title

After reading and enjoying Alex Pine Christmas Killer I. December just before starting this challenge. I decided I could get away with reading his next book the Snow Killer in early Jan. It proved as enjoyable as the first even though this time I worked one big twist out early in the book; I was keen to keep turning pages to see when it would be revealed in the book!

A book set where born

I was born in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire which is an hour’s drive from where I live now in Sheffield. When in a discussion someone recommended Nell Pattison books for this category. As part of the challenge I bought and read Silent House and Silent Night. I have discovered there is a third in the series; Silent Victim; so will have to buy and read that one at some stage.

The books are about a British Sign Language Interpreter who is employed to work with Scunthorpe police and hence becomes involved with murders with deaf communities. It is fascinating and thought provoking, getting an insight into the Deaf community. The murderer identity reveal in both books revealed fairly far fetched murder scenario, but as just small part of the book then I still enjoyed the books overall.

My experience of reading Stephen King

I have limited experience of reading Stephen King. Up until 2017, I had not read any therefore sought to correct. I maybe should have researched more before I bought a book, but instead I bought the first they I came across in a charity shop; Insominia. This ended up putting me off for several more years as I found the paranormal aspect of the book too weird to engage with. At the time I also commented.

“I liked the first hundred pages or so and the epilogue, but not so keen on the middle and there was a lot of middle! The book was 760 pages.”

I did not read another Stephen King until 2021. Pet Semetary. I actually mildly enjoyed this one. Perhaps knowing there would be a paranormal element help. Rather than being bogged down by the paranormal I took the message from the that death is part of life.

My experience with Pet Semetary encouraged me to read a collection of Stephen King short stories to get more of a feel for him. I read his collection called Night Shift. I liked the story Strawberry Spring but was not that impressed with other stories.

Overall I think King’s older works set in the 70s are now starting to feel dated. I can not see myself seeking out further Stephen King but guess I would read more if another came up for a book club or in a situation away from home when limited choice of books!

Memoirs of a Child Bookworm: Roald Dahl

I think I read most of Roald Dahl’s collection for children as a child including his two autobiographies. I did not own all the books personally therefore within last couple of years I bought a box set of Roald Dahl children’s books. The only one I had not previously read was the Giraffe, Monkey, Pelly and me; I recently rectified that.

I remember my Father read Fantastic Mr Fox to my sister and I. My brother is 8 years younger than myself, I ended up reading Fantastic Mr Fox to him one Saturday afternoon.

I loved the imaginary at the opening of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory of his two sets of Grandparents topping and tailing in a bed together. Then the magic of opening a rare treat of a chocolate bar. These simple moments get overshadowed by the flamboyance of the story in the chocolate factory; but I remember more vividly reading this part than the rest of the book. Similarly I really liked Danny champion of the world which was a more real and less magical than other books. That being said I loved the magic of George’s marvellous medicine and the dream distributer the BFG and James and the Giant Peach.

As well as reading the Witches I also saw the film on a big screen as a child; creepy! After reading the books I have also seen films of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, BFG, Matilda and James and the Giant Peach. I have seen Danny the Champion of the world as a serialised tv programme on BBC and Esio Trot as a one episode BBC tv programme. I saw trailer for Fantastic Mr Fox and could not bear to watch film as it sounded too American.

As an adult I have also read some of his short stories. I would like one day to visit his writing shed / museum in Buckinghamshire.

Book Cllub Challenge Update

Since my last update I have completed the Book with a Country in the Title by reading Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. See Salmon Fishing Review

Short Stories Category read short stories collection by Stephen King called Night Shift.

Childhood book category read The Giraffe, Pelli and Me by Roald Dahl as read a lot of Roald Dahl as a child.

I now just need to read a book Bought Second Hand.

Categories Completed

A book with an Island Connection

Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior. About an elderly millionaire making a trip to Locket island to find out about penguin conservation. She is initially seems an uptight woman but it is good to see different aspects of her personality emerge as the book continues and past tragedies revealed. 

A Christmas book

I read two. First One Day in December by Josie Silver. It is not set all at Christmas. It is a bit like my favourite book One Day in that follows a ‘will they won’t they couple’ over several years. It has some bitter sweet moments. Defiantly, not a fluffy Christmas romance and very little of it is actually Christmas as it does not check i. On them on the same day every year.

Christmas at the North Pole by Jamie Adnams. It was quite a whimsical book; I guess I managed to enjoy some charming snowy holiday vibes but overall a bit fluffy.

A book Set in Asia

I had a Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hossin on my list since reading Kite Runner last year. Both books are set in Afghanistan this one gave a insight into the lives of women ; it is mind boggling the difference in my life growing up in the UK at the same time as women in Afghanistan.

A book with X in title or author’s name

I doubled up on this category because I had one with x in authors name and one with x in title in TBR piles. First I read a Stuart Life Lived Backwards by Alexander Master. A biography of an unusual subject; a man who swings between prison, life of crime and homelessness. Shocking ending. 

I read the Texas Ranger by James Pattison. An American cop type thing, guess can see why James Pattison is popular for holiday reads and would maybe read one again.

A book with a building in the title

As I received as a Christmas Eve box surprise, Christmas with the Tea Shop Girls by Elaine Everest, I decided that tea shop counted as a building.

The prologue was Christmas Eve then first chapter started 2nd Sep and worked forward to the aforementioned Christmas Eve; therefore it was not all Christmassy. It was a family saga set in wartime England; I do enjoy such books as it was a time of such change in the position of women. Indeed I enjoyed this one.

A book with a Royal Connection

I took part in a Christmas Secret Santa book exchange and was very lucky to received a few books (a book mark and chocolate). One of the books I received The Burning Girls. I decided I could use for the book with Royal Connection because the author’s name was Tudor like in Tudor monarchs.

Upon opening the book I found it was even more appropriate as it was centred around martyrs in time of Queen Mary. it was not a historic book however; it was set fairly recently with a female vicar regularly using airdrop feature on her phone and needing wi -fi. It had plenty of actions – twists and turns.

A book with weather referenced in the title

After reading and enjoying Alex Pine Christmas Killer I. December just before starting this challenge. I decided I could get away with reading his next book the Snow Killer in early Jan. It proved as enjoyable as the first even though this time I worked one big twist out early in the book; I was keen to keep turning pages to see when it would be revealed in the book!

A book set where born

I was born in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire which is an hour’s drive from where I live now in Sheffield. When in a discussion someone recommended Nell Pattison books for this category. As part of the challenge I bought and read Silent House and Silent Night. I have discovered there is a third in the series; Silent Victim; so will have to buy and read that one at some stage.

The books are about a British Sign Language Interpreter who is employed to work with Scunthorpe police and hence becomes involved with murders with deaf communities. It is fascinating and thought provoking, getting an insight into the Deaf community. The murderer identity reveal in both books revealed fairly far fetched murder scenario, but as just small part of the book then I still enjoyed the books overall.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen book review

Salmon fishing in the Yemen sounds a ridiculous concept! How could you have Salmon in Yemen? Well you could if you imported from Scotland! The book tells the story of a fictional attempt.

The project to introduce salmon fishing to Yemen was sparked by a Sheiki from Yemen. The government becomes involved. Therefore the book includes characters of fictional Prime Minister of England and his communication chief Peter Maxwell. Through the chain of command between government and civil service a Fish Scientist Alfred Jones is persuaded / forced to become involved in the project.

The book is told from the perspective of retrospectively reviewing the project through review of documents including emails, Alfred Jone’s diaries, transcripts of interviews and draft of Peter Maxwell’s autobiography. However, the construct of the book keeps the result of the project hidden from the reader until near the end.

The epistolic style of telling the story through letters (emails) and other documents initially seems dull. As the initial emails are authentically corporate emails. As the book continues they are so authentic or believable parody of political world; that like political satires like the Thick of it and Yes Prime Minister the book was amusing! The Prime Minister and Peter Maxwell talked and acted in a way that in my imagination were in the current manner of Boris Johnson in the real world. As this book was written pre 2007, it featured Boris Johnson as a journalist. It was confusing when I had imagined Peter to be like Boris that Boris was then interviewing Peter!

Peter and the Prime Minister are desperate to get a photo of the prime minister catching a salmon in Yemen in a cynical attempt to gain votes from anglers! Reminiscent of Boris as Mayor dangling over the Thames on a zip wire! It also rang bells in terms of how Peter, the Prime Minister and the various managers in the story at times were positive of the project, wanting credit for it and if it was not going well wanted to distance themselves from it and pretend had no knowledge! Heard such excuses from politicians a lot during pandemic … it was not a party, I don’t know about a party, I don’t know who paid for my flat decoration…etc

Alfred Jones seemed a dull character obsessed with minute detail of fish such as writing papers such as ‘Effects of increased water acidity on the caddis fly larva’. He was reminiscent of men I have encountered in real life. Although obsessed with fish which has become his career, he is married. Although his marriage seems to be a marriage of conscience. In the book he is mainly apart from his wife; corresponding by emails. Their emails by in large, seem cold and business like rather than affectionate. It annoyed me that underneath text of their emails in the books there were occasionally post scripts! This is not realistic of emails – you either realised forgot something before send email so add it in before sending or gave to send a second email! An undercurrent develops in the emails and his wife is patronising to Alfred, and you begin to feel sorry for him! The emails become subtly bitchy and if you can bring the situation to mind in your head then they are amusing.

This book set out as documents initially seems dull. But as described it builds momentum and it is a good ending. The characters are realistic characters and easy to imagine, you can imagine it as a film. Of course in a film you would lose the subtly of characters saying one thing but thinking another like being falsely positive about the project. I have just looked up and it was made into a film in 2011, starring Euan McGregor as Alfred – Wrong!!!! Too glamorous!!!!

Although not always fully respecting how book was written as a whole it has been thought provoking!

2021/2022 Book Clllub Update

I’m enjoying completing books and categories per this challenge.

The Categories

A book with an Island Connection

Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior. About an elderly millionaire making a trip to Locket island to find out about penguin conservation. She is initially seems an uptight woman but it is good to see different aspects of her personality emerge as the book continues and past tragedies revealed. 

A Christmas book

I read two. First One Day in December by Josie Silver. It is not set all at Christmas. It is a bit like my favourite book One Day in that follows a ‘will they won’t they couple’ over several years. It has some bitter sweet moments. Defiantly not a fluffy Christmas romance!

Christmas at the North Pole by Jamie Adnams. It was quite a whimsical book; I guess I managed to enjoy some charming snowy holiday vibes but overall a bit fluffy.

A book Set in Asia

I had a Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hossin on my list since reading Kite Runner last year. Both books are set in Afghanistan this one gave a insight into the lives of women ; it is mind boggling the difference in my life growing up in the UK at the same time as women in Afghanistan.

A book with X in title or author’s name

I doubled up on this category because I had one with x in authors name and one with x in title in TBR piles. First I read a Stuart Life Lived Backwards by Alexander Master. A biography of an unusual subject; a man who swings between prison, life of crime and homelessness. Shocking ending.

Between the time gap of a book with a building (tea shop) in the title and a book with a royal connection I read the Texas Ranger by James Pattison. AnnAmerican cop type thing, guess can see why James Pattison is popular for holiday reads and would maybe read one again.

A book with a building in the title

In between the two books for X category. it was Christmas. In a Christmas Eve box that I opened Christmas Eve Eve I received a book with a building in the title – I think a tea shop is a building! The book was Christmas with the Tea Shop Girls by Elaine Everest.

Actually the prologue was Christmas Eve then first chapter started 2nd Sep and worked forward to the aforementioned Christmas Eve; therefore it was not all Christmassy. It was a family saga set in wartime England; I do enjoy such books as it was a time of such change in the position of women. Indeed I enjoyed this one.

A book with a Royal Connection

I took part in a Christmas Secret Santa book exchange and was very lucky to received a few books (a book mark and chocolate). One of the books I received The Burning Girls. I decided I could use for the book with Royal Connection because the author’s name was Tudor like in Tudor monarchs.

Upon opening the book I found it was even more appropriate as it was centred around martyrs in time of Queen Mary. it was not a historic book however; it was set fairly recently with a female vicar regularly using airdrop feature on her phone and needing wi -fi. It had plenty of actions – twists and turns.

A book with weather referenced in the title

After reading and enjoying Alex Pine Christmas Killer I. December just before starting this challenge. I decided I could get away with reading his next book the Snow Killer in early Jan. It proved as enjoyable as the first even though this time I worked one big twist out early in the book; I was keen to keep turning pages to see when it would be revealed in the book!

A book set where born

I was born in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire which is an hour’s drive from where I live now in Sheffield. When in a discussion someone recommended Nell Pattison books for this category for myself I ordered two books. I read the first Silent House inside 24 hours. Now on to second and will have to buy third at some stage! The books are about a British Sign Language Interpreter who is employed to work with Scunthorpe police and hence becomes involved with murders with deaf communities. It is fascinating and thought provoking, getting an insight into the Deaf community. The Silent house kept me guessing, I did feel the answer to the mystery was a little flawed but as just small part of the book they is ok.

I have the following categories remaining and have got all the books plan to read apart from book bought second hand which will visit a charity shop for when read other categories.

A book from childhood

A book with a county in the title

A book of short stories

A book bought second hand

Top 5 Tuesday Book Resolutions

Below are the resolutions I’m setting. See Meghan’s blog for her and others resolutions.

1. Read Book Thief for January Book CLlub

2. Look through books for March Top 5 Tuesday scavenger prompts.

3. Read King short stories. This will fulfill book CLlub challenge category short stories and also give me more to judge Stephen King on!

Info about Book Clllub Challenge

4. Buy a second hand book for second hand category of challenge.

5. Read a Colleen Hoover book.